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Pastor Maldonado described the Williams FW35 chassis as ‘undriveable’ after being knocked out of the opening qualifying session in Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.
While team-mate Valtteri Bottas narrowly made it through to the next Q2 phase, Maldonado was left below the cut in 17th place after an off-track excursion at Turn 12, prompting him to liken the team’s current struggles to its disastrous 2011 season.
"I think we’re back to where we were two years ago, with the condition of the team," a dejected Maldonado told the gathered media in the Melbourne paddock. "We need to work very hard to sort the problems. The car is undriveable at the moment.
"In the wet conditions we were slow and in the dry we were slow as well. The pace for tomorrow seems to be better for us but our qualifying pace was very bad."
Maldonado will start Sunday's 58-lap Grand Prix on the ninth row of the grid, just ahead of Sauber's Esteban Gutiérrez plus the Marussia and Caterham drivers.
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